Puwan New Area is attracting foreign firms by upgrading its industrial bases and procedures

On March 26, US tire manufacturer Goodyear set up its first research and development center in Puwan New Area in Dalian, Liaoning province, the company’s first R&D facility in Asia.

Richard Kramer, chairman and CEO of Goodyear, said at the center’s opening ceremony that the facility will strengthen the company’s leading role in global tire-making by focusing on demand in the Chinese market.

The Goodyear factory, which aims to produce 13 million tires per year, is one of the largest tire factories in the world and has advanced technologies and equipment.

Jiang Zhou, secretary of the Communist Party of China Puwan Work Committee and director of the management committee of Puwan New Area, said the Goodyear factory will expand its production capacity later this year.

“Reinvestments mean there is strong demand in the market and shows that there is recognition toward the investment environment in Puwan and Dalian,” Jiang said.

This year, 13 companies in Puwan New Area, including Goodyear, increased investments, with total capital of 4.2 billion yuan ($657 million), to expand production.

National key area

Dalian is a hub for international shipping, logistics and regional finance in Northeast Asia. It is the frontier of opening-up in Northeast China and overlooks the Bohai and Huanghai Seas facing the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Puwan New Area, which has a population of a million and measures 3,357 square kilometers, has 132 km of coastline and rich tourism resources such as hot springs and wetlands. Puwan is located 40 km from downtown Dalian.

In June 2014, the State Council approved the establishment of Jinpu New Area, which consists of Jinzhou New Area, a bonded area and Puwan New Area.

Jinpu New Area is the 10th national key area to develop high-tech industries and the only key area in Northeast China to facilitate cooperation with countries in the northeastern parts of Asia. The key area also aims to restructure and upgrade its old industrial bases and to advance technological innovations.

“Innovations in administration and management is our core concept. How to bolster economic and social development is why we set up Jinpu New Area,” said Jiang.

He said one of the central actions being undertaken by Puwan New Area is breaking from traditional concepts in administrative approval processes and operational mechanisms.

Puwan New Area has set up a system in which one official is responsible for making all decisions from the outset of a project until it is completed, which is very different from previous models in which several officials were in charge of different sections as the project proceeded.

At the beginning of the year, Puwan designated every one of its 66 projects, each with an investment of more than 100 million yuan, to a specific official. A total of 116 billion yuan in investments has been allotted to the projects.

Puwan New Area is also accelerating the establishment of a bureau that will be responsible for administrative examinations and approvals in an effort to streamline processes and serve enterprises more efficiently.

“We will continue to deepen reforms and create more vitality. We will make full use of preferential policies for rejuvenating Northeast China and national new areas and strive for more power in managing the local economy,” Jiang said.

Since its establishment in April 2010, Puwan New Area has focused on large projects to group enterprises together, improve urban infrastructure and the ecological environment, create better living standards and boost growth in various economic indicators.

In 2014, Puwan New Area’s GDP reached 71.24 billion yuan. It has total fixed asset investments of 72.68 billion yuan and a public budget revenue of 4.33 billion yuan. The area attracted 21.1 billion yuan from domestic investors and $605 million in foreign investments. The volume of imports and exports rose to $2.12 billion.

“After a few years of efforts, we have settled some problems that had caused chaos and unified all officials to better manage the new area, which is fundamental to our development,” said Jiang.

One city, two sub-districts

Jiang said Puwan New Area’s theme of “one city, two sub-districts” has created a platform to boost local development.

He said “one city” means the new city near the bay is focusing on services for enterprises and their employees. The city is a center for company headquarters, business and financial services as well as cultural and sports events. Thus far, Dalian Library, the Science and Technology Museum of Dalian and Dalian Museum have been completed while the No 3 Hospital affiliated to Dalian Medical University will be completed in the near future.

The two sub-districts are Sanshilipu Industrial Area and Songmudao Chemical Industrial Park. Jiang said fine chemicals in Songmudao and new-energy equipment manufacturing in Sanshilipu will prop up the transformation of old industries and cultivation of new industries in Puwan.

“Songmudao has become a crucial destination for Dalian’s chemical factories to be relocated. We have to drop old chemical industries and upgrade quality and efficiency by forming a closer chain of upstream and downstream productions. Emissions need to be reduced and efficiency improved,” he said.

Sanshilipu Industrial Area is a model for new-energy storage equipment manufacturing granted by the National Development and Reform Commission. Dalian Rongke Power Co is one company that is leading this field.

Supported by the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian Rongke Power Co produces vanadium energy storage systems, a breakthrough in energy conservation and crucial for overcoming the difficulties of integrating renewable energy into the national grid.

A logistics base is being constructed with an investment of 2.25 billion yuan. When completed, the base will provide services in cold chain logistics, warehousing, e-commerce, procurement and settlement services.

The Northeast Asia International Food Trading Center, invested in by China Railway Tielong Container Logistics Co, is committed to the international transportation of cold and fresh foods through railway containers.

“We are moving one step after another. We have sketched Puwan with a pencil and filled in the blanks with different colors to make the new area a rising star nationwide,” said Jiang.

A lifeline of investments

In recent years, Puwan New Area has made it their “lifeline” to attract business and investments in an effort to upgrade traditional industries. The area also enhanced efforts to introduce new industries to build a strong manufacturing system.

In 2014, Puwan consumed 1.75 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

“For years, the industrial electric power consumption of Puwan has been among the top players in Liao-ning,” said Jiang.

Between January and June, contracts were signed to carry out 25 projects in Puwan with a total investment of 8.5 billion yuan. Among the contracts are deals to build factories for China Resources Snow Breweries, China Catalyst Co and Chuanshanjia Material Supply Chain Co.

Since its founding, Puwan has cultivated industries in auto parts, marine equipment, fine chemicals and electric power equipment as well as garment and food processing.

During the first two quarters, six pillar industries produced revenue of 50.26 billion yuan, a profit of 1.35 billion yuan and contributed 2.16 billion yuan in taxes, accounting for 86.5 percent, 90.1 percent and 89.6 percent of the respective totals for Puwan New Area.

Many renowned brands have facilities in the new area, such as Goodyear, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Dalian Hitachi and Dalian Cofco Malt Co.

Dalian Cofco Malt Co produces 400,000 metric tons of malt a year, the largest quantity in the world. Dayang Clothing Factory exports the largest number of suits in China, making it the biggest suit producer in Northeast China. Snowdragon Beef Co has its national beef manufacturing research center in the new area while Dalian Heavy Industry Propeller Co is the largest ship propeller producer in China.

Jiang said Puwan has created a cluster of industries that have distinct advantages in their respective fields and that the new area is exploring ways to become directly involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Puwan has a series of preferential government policies, including relaxed rules for revitalizing old industrial bases in Northeast China. There are also favorable policies for Jinpu New Area and subsidies for attracting businesses and investments.

“Puwan New Area will continue to streamline the administration process and ensure the shortest time for the approval of applications. Our one-stop service is aimed at building one of the best investment destinations in Liaoning, even China,” Jiang said.

Jiang said Dalian has evolved into a city with 6 million people from just a small fishing village a century ago.

“Dalian will focus its development along the coastline, which endows Puwan New Area with more advantages to build a green, prosperous and modern city,” he added.

zhangxiaomin@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 09/09/2015 page27)